New Report Examines the Intricacies of Data Hacking

September 29, 2015, Written By John H. Oldshue

Trend Micro recently released a report that analyzed ten years’ worth of information about high-profile U.S. data breaches.

The report from Trend Micro, a global security software company, moves past the discussion of the individuals affected and how they can protect themselves. Instead, the report examined what actually happens to the data and attempted to “get a picture of what attackers are looking for, how they use the data, how much it costs, and where it eventually ends up.”

How Do They Get Information
While we most often read about hackers breaching systems, data is more often taken due to people losing their devices. In fact, device loss or theft accounts for 41% of breaches, while hackers or malware only account for 25%. Many companies are not taking enough precautions protecting the sensitive information on its employees’ laptops and mobile devices.

However, while simple solutions are available to protect devices, it is hard to stop hackers. Criminals breach networks–such as Ashley Madison–because they can get large amounts of valuable data. Most often, malware or social engineering will be used, but former employees will also leak data if they are unhappy with their former company.

What Do They Want?
While hackers are looking for personal identifiable information (PII), the price has actually dropped on the cybercriminal underground. The price of a “line” of data–consisting of at least a name, address and Social Security number–sold for $4 last year but only sells for $1 today due to a much greater supply of PII. Instead, many criminals are looking for health information and Uber accounts.

What Industries are at Risk?
A wide variety of industries has been hit, including retailers, healthcare companies and government agencies. Many believe that hackers most often attack retailers, but in fact, the healthcare sector accounts for 26.9% of all breaches. Education is second with 16.8%, while government agencies are 15.9%. Retailers only account for 12.5% of all breaches.

Trend Micro’s report, entitled Follow the Data: Dissecting Data Breaches and Debunking the Myths, will hopefully make it easier for IT security professionals to create safeguards to protect individuals and companies.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of September 29, 2015. For up-to-date
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